“Floating above a Chasm should be horrifying, especially when there is something dangerous down in it.” I told myself, but I could not convince myself to move. “Fine then, I’ll float here and maybe somehow learn if I died or not…” I was facing the Chasm, still floating, though I now recognized that I was moving while floating, so at least that was a start. “I wonder what’s down there…”
My body started to fall into the Chasm. “Wait!” I did not slow down as I saw a swirling gray mist wrapped around a large sphere. “What?” I stopped an arm’s span away from the mist. “Is that what I think it is…?” I reached forward and warmth caressed my hand. I saw my pipes hanging from my neck and grabbed them. I played a jaunty tune, the sphere dancing and waving in the mists. I righted myself, sitting in the air.
“I wonder if all people has this kind of power locked away in their souls.” I knew the answer before I finished. “No… They don’t… That’s why the Dean wanted me here so badly. I can only imagine the damage I could do with this much power.” As if by command, a landscape, desecrated by war and famine appeared on the walls of the Chasm. Dust, dirt and bodies covered the land, people wandering for food and water only to find nothing in this hopeless desert.
I caught a glimpse of movement to my left, more than just the hopeless. I turned to see four people fighting, as they flew across the sky. I recognized them instantly, two of them being the last things I saw before I passed out. The scene magnified, so I could see everything closer.
Cittrite and Dei were fighting Keres and another me. They all looked equally matched and older, making this sometime in the future. The Mortalitas slammed into Dei, as Keres hooked one of his clawed hands into Cittrite’s body. Dei fell towards the ground and when Keres extracted his claws, blood spattered everywhere, as Cittrite fell. The distance to the ground alone would have killed them.
Then Keres turned to her and smiled, actually smiled, at her, before he came closer to the other me. He leaned in, kissing her and I felt his claws slam into her as he killed the other me. I saw that the smile was sad and a single tear fell as he dropped her towards the ground. I heard his voice across the Chasm, “I am sorry, Myst… But I could not stand to see you destroy everything you loved… Good bye…” He vanished, as did the scenes of destruction.
“Now… What if I used it to heal and save instead of hurt and destroy?” The scene around the Chasm was completely different that before. There was a luscious forest as far as I could see. But something was not right, a hidden taint that I could not quite see. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw an army going through the forest. It felt full of hatred and anger, the same emotions activated by the crystal.
The scene fast-forwarded and there was a war destroying everything. Things poured from the Gates into the human realm. All things fought all other things, trying to claim the land as theirs, having killed most of the humans.
I noticed a small band of power and once again recognized it. At the forefront of the Academy was Athde, flanked by Cittrite and Dei on his left with Keres and the other me on the right. The Academy was small, maybe twelve people left, most killed by the war. The enemies’ armies were many times larger than their small band.
They each took an army, knowing there would be no way to win. The armies amassed behind a flag of blood, making them a large unstoppable force. This army had a name… “Blood Knights…” The name came from memory from long ago, another memory of a father who taught me much, yet nothing at all.
I watched as they all fought our hardest, yet it was all for naught. It was down to Dei, Cittrite, Athde, Keres and the other me, alone to fight against the many armies of the Blood Knights. They were bloodied, defeated, surrounded, but the Bloody Knights did not finish their kills. A lone figure strode forward, a Black Knight with a horned helm broke the lines.
I strained, but I hear his voice faintly, “Give her to us. She will help us eradicate the rest of the rebels. Hand her over and you shall live.”
I saw the others look to her, before surrounding her with their bodies. Athde spoke calmly and clearly, “If you need to, destroy them all.”
She was fearful, “But you will all be killed too!”
“Then so be it. If we handed you over, we would die anyways.”
She shook her head. “Get out of here. I have to know you are all safe.”
Keres shook his head, “We are not leaving you Myst.”
I felt a savage emotion of desperation coming from the other me. She slammed her fists in Keres and Athde, knocking them both out. She looked to Dei and Cittrite. “Grab them and get to a Gate.” Dei and Cittrite did not hesitate to do as she said, as she grabbed the Mortalitas from the ground.
She felt the Horned Black Knight reach for her, gentle in his touches. I felt every caress he placed on her skin, as he tried to place her into his control. She smiled sweetly and moved towards the Knight. She lifted the faceplate of the helm and I felt a brush of dried, cracked skin across my lips. She pulled back, leaning the Mortalitas against her leg. She reached forward and pulled the helm off the Black Knight’s head. A wave of honeysuckle and decay mingled with the smells of dust and oranges rode over me, making me feel sick. She leaned forward, kissing him deeply, as I felt a dried tongue grope the inside of my mouth.
I watched as she grabbed the Mortalitas by the handle again, before stepping back. She swung the Mortalitas high and slammed it into the top of the Black Knight’s head. I heard a crunch from where I floated and I knew she killed him. The enraged army surged forward, fighting her as she fought her hardest with the Mortalitas. The army ended up consuming her, before she let out a flash of power, killing those closest to her. I knew she would not last much longer, after taking out a small portion of the army; they finally killed her.
I looked back to the Chasm. Power. Potential. Can either hurt or heal… But what if both is needed… I smiled. I choose the path in the center, I will hurt when I need to and I will heal when I need to.
Knowing what I needed to know, I dove into the Chasm and fell into the mist.
| _-_ |
“Valiente! Wake up! Cittrite, why is she not waking up?!” I heard Dei’s fearful pleas as I felt warmth cover my body.
“I am trying! Oh Lord and Lady, please do not let her be dead!” Cittrite said a small prayer.
I spoke, my voice hoarse, “Someone once told me that hoping and praying won’t get ya anywhere.” I tried to sit up but I was drained of energy. I felt the weight of the stones back in their bag on my chest. I grabbed them and stuffed them into my pocket.
“Valiente!” Dei and Cittrite hugged me tightly.
I heard a clap from behind them and I saw Keres and Athde standing there. “Congratulations. You all passed, what have you all learned here?”
Cittrite and Dei looked down at the ground, so I answered, “Any hatred in your heart or soul can cause you to become blinded by that hatred to everything around you.”
Athde nodded, “Hatred is the worse thing anyone can experience, because it can blind even the best warriors into acting as novices. When you reach your full Potentials, all affiliations must end, because they can only give weapons to your enemies.” He looked directly at me, as Cittrite and Dei helped me sit up, “Valiente, I need to talk to you alone.”
I gulped, “Yes, sir.” I tried to stand, but I wobbled and fell back down. I still did not have enough energy to stand up. I felt someone lift my fat butt easily and I noticed it was Keres. I looked at him, and I felt small, yet protected in his arms. “Thank you.”
Keres did not smile, “You wasted too much energy and power. You will not be able to do much for a few days.”
“Joy…” I looked to Cittrite and Dei, my two partners, friends that I will protect no matter the cost.
Athde grabbed the Mortalitas off the ground and carried it easily. He led with Keres carrying me, followed by Cittrite and Dei, who were talking in low voices about the test.
We ascended the stairs to the Library, where Dei and Cittrite left for their rooms, escorted by Athde. Keres carried me up the stairs into Athde’s office. He set me into a chair in front of Athde’s desk. He sat on the desk in front of me. “Close your eyes.” I closed my eyes, as he lifted my face up towards the ceiling. I felt him press his skin to mine and a thick warm liquid went down my throat. I opened my eyes to find his wrist was pressed to my mouth and blood was flowing down my throat.
I choked and pushed him back. “What the hell was that for?!”
Keres shook his head, keeping his secrets. Athde burst into the office as I wiped the blood away from my mouth. “Keres, please leave. I will call you when we are done talking. Please take the Mortalitas with you.”
“Yes, sir.” Keres bowed to Dr. Athde, grabbed the handle of the Mortalitas and stepped out of the office.
Athde steeped his fingers, crossing them over his hand. “Valiente, to start off, you are the first student I have had that found the true intent of the first year test. You were able to keep your head clear throughout the test and kept away all thoughts of anger towards those you care for. But that means you cheated the test, because no one has ever known the truth. Tell me why I should not expel you from the Gatekeeper status.”
I was shocked, but I knew my story and held my ground, “Dei said something while we were on the stairs about how even if we had the power to do almost anything, that we have a way to balance out our strength. I thought about it and something my father once said lingered at the edge of my mind, nagged me about how though we are Jumper, Keeper and Healer, that our destinies weren’t quite decided yet. Something felt wrong about the test, like it was a trap. I asked the Mortalitas if it was, and He said it was depending on how you looked at it. He would not tell me anymore, saying you held Him to silence.”
This was going to be the hard part, I had to figure out how to explain how I was able to figure out the rest of it. It was a huge leap of thought, even for me. “I could feel the darkness, oppression and hatred try to impose on my being. Then it just clicked why there was such a high fatality rate. There had to be a way to weed out those who were weak and consumed and blinded by an inner anger and hatred for someone.” I sighed, “The only people who has done me wrong were my father and humans I trusted, and I don’t really hate my father for leaving me and the humans are no longer in my future, so I had no ill feelings towards anyone that could be used against me.”
Athde sat and watched me tell my truth. “How did you know where the crystal was?”
“I asked the stones. I knew that if I played the opposite of what the enchantment was, they would find it for me. I knew it was an enchantment, because I looked through Dei’s eyes and saw Cittrite as Svenga.”
“How are you able to speak to Dei, without talking and see through his eyes?”
“When I first met Dei, he told me his full name and since then, he is able to read my surface thoughts. If I close my eyes and his are open and I concentrate, I can see through his eyes and how his mind is perceiving what it is. He cannot read all my thoughts, just when I send them out to Oblivion, but I can read his.”
Athde sighed, “Has Cittrite given you his full name?”
“I have no idea.”
“Call him.” He lightly touched my arm, using the connection to hear the conversation.
I heard a grumbling answer, Sugar. Cream warned me against telling you my name, but something kept telling me that it was a good idea… Where are you?
Not that I know of. Well, I needs ta go and talk to Athde. See ya tomorrow, hopefully!
Good night, Sugar.
Night, Coffee and tell Cream I said night! I felt the link sever and we were alone in our thoughts.
“Coffee? Sugar? Cream?” He smiled as he withdrew his touch, “At least you all understand the importance of keeping it all in code.”
“Code? I just asked him when I met him if I could call him Coffee, cause of his name, skin and scent. He said it was fine, as long as he could call me Sugar. We tried to convince Dei to let us call him Cream, but he flushed and said no.”
“Well, I really do not know what to say. I can tell you are telling the truth, but I do not see how you made that kind of mental leap. The Dean was right; I have to be careful with you. You may go back to your dorm now.” He was about to summon Keres, but I stopped him.
“Before I leave, I have an important thing to ask.”
His eye sockets darkened and he folded his hands in front of his face, “Can it wait?”
“No. It happened while I was passed out.”
He straightened, his face getting darker, “Speak then…”
“How much power does Dei and Cittrite possess?”
“A fair amount. They have more than anyone else except for Keres and myself.”
I gulped, knowing I would not like this answer, “What about me?”
“Currently, you do not have more than anyone else. But you have yet to unlock the seal placed on you by your father. Your Potential is locked behind this seal, once that seal is gone…” His voice trailed.
I looked down at the desk, “I saw a Chasm with my power in it… But when I went into the Chasm, I looked at the canyon-like walls… Projected on these walls was a future, if I used the Potential to hurt, I killed Dei and Cittrite… Then Keres killed me…” I felt a tear hit my hand. “Then I asked what it would be if I only tried healing… The world was caught up in a war and you, Keres, Dei, Cittrite and I were the last defenders for the weak. We were surrounded, defeated, but the army did not kill us. A Horned Black Knight came forward and demanded that you all hand me over to him. You all refused and I ended up hurting you to have Dei and Cittrite take you to a Gate. I killed the Black Knight with the Mortalitas, and his army in turn killed me.” I took a deep breath, “I guess what I’m asking… Is there a way to prevent it?”
“No, but we are doing everything we can to insure that the outcome will turn out different, but the war cannot be prevented. The war between the Orcs and the Elves is just the start of it…” Athde rose up and wiped another tear off my cheek with a finger bone. “Sometimes you have to hurt to heal, to destroy to save. You just need to learn when the time comes to use the power you have to do what is needed.”
I heard the door-portal behind me open and Athde stood straight back up. I felt Keres as he lightly touched my shoulder, “I am sorry, Dr. Athde, but I could not help overhearing.” He looked down at me, “You can block your thoughts from Dei and Cittrite, but you cannot block them from me.” I felt shock cover me, I had forgotten that I knew Keres’s full name and could listen in if I projected my thoughts into Oblivion. I looked down at the floor. He looked back to Athde, “Who is powerful enough to have put a seal on her?”
“Her father.” Athde’s answer was curt.
Keres’s eyes narrowed “You are stalling. Who is her father, that is powerful enough to contain her power? And where did she get this power from?”
“Most of her power comes from her father, but he did not realize that her mother had a good amount of power as well.” Athde looked at me and I met his eye sockets, “Your mother would have been a Gatekeeper, but she met your father and fell in love. She became pregnant with you, when you father learned the truth about her power. Combined with his… You would be unstoppable if you had the chance to grow. Your father thought it best to lock your power behind a seal, until you learn what you need to without it. Then when the time is right, he instructed me to break the seal.”
My world fell out from under me, Athde knew my father. My father was not a good for nothing after all! “Why did he leave, and not break the seal himself when I got older?”
“Your father’s court was becoming mutinous, so I escorted him back to his Gate before a full out war came about. He did not want to be King, but he was forced into it. He would have given up his crown and everything, just to be with your mother and you, but she told him to finish up with his court business. He did everything he could to get out of the crown, but there was no one strong enough to unite the demons like he could.”
“Demons?” I turned cold. “Athde… Who is my father…?”
“Your father… is the king.”
“The king of where?”
“I keep the Gates to Hell…”
“No… You must be mistaken!”
“No, darling. Your Father is the King of Hell… Lucifer.”